In the Kansas City area, there are two petitions circulating that are pushing to remove what they deem to be sculptures of "offensive nature". One petition wishes to remove an "inappropriate" sculpture at the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens:
Another petition concerns "offensive" statues of Bare, Naked Ladies in the Country Club Plaza area:
OH MY GOD. NEKKED LADY BITS! Hide your children.... hide yourselves. No seriously. Hide yourself. Because if you are offended by art like that? You have got a mighty thin skin and probably should never leave your house. Grab your Bible, fire up Faux News on the telly and settle in for a long, hot summer.
The best part of all of this is that these petitions were spear-headed by the lovely (not) American Family Association (a group that targets gays and lesbians), a Chinese Baptist Church and a bored housewife, Joann Hughes (to whom I would suggest just buying 50 Shades of Grey already). It's a joke in the making, except I doubt any of these folks ever enter bars. But the SECOND best part is this bit from the Hughes regarding the statue at the Arboretum:
No matter what the artist’s intent, she thinks the sculpture is, on the whole, “too mature for young eyes” and has the potential to expose children to difficult and unexpected images and force parents into conversations with children that they may not be ready to have.(Sidenote: I wonder if the American Family Association knows that their fellow in arms supports gay artists such as Michelangelo and Rodin? When will the madness stop!???)
“I didn’t take the time to understand the artist’s message,” Hughes said. “I was really thinking, ‘Good grief, what is that doing here?’ It is vulgar. It is provocative. I thought it was glorifying sexting. For me, it is very offensive.”
Hughes said she is not asking for the piece to be destroyed or hidden from public view. She thinks it needs to be in a museum or other more adult venue.
She rejects any argument that likens the arboretum sculpture to, say, naked figures from Greek or Roman antiquity or the works of Michelangelo or Rodin.
“I have seen the statue of David in person,” Hughes said of Michelangelo’s masterpiece. “It is beautiful. He’s also not taking a picture of his penis. There is a difference there. The message is different.”
Anyway! Here is what I think about Bare, Naked Ladies:
I think the human body is beautiful and it is simply not my place to judge an artist's interpretation of it. Aesthetically, I do not really care for the art that is the subject of the Arboretum petitions. But I do not support the stifling of it, either.
Last July, I took Team Chaos to see the Monet Water Lilies Exhibit at the Nelson-Atkins Art Gallery. I adore Thomas Hart Benton and wanted to share some of that with the kiddos as well.
Honestly? They did not really notice the lovely Persephone there with the creepy farmer in the background leering lasciviously at her. Furthermore, later in the main hall, they did not notice the Greek statues of naked men with their junk hanging over our heads like wrinkly bunches of grapes.
And lest you think the Nelson-Atkins is not meant for children, let me point out their Youth and Family Programs for your viewing pleasure. In fact, I was at the Nelson a few weeks ago and that very same program was hosting something just a few paintings down from the gorgeous painting of Persephone and her agrarian stalker.
But don't tell Joanne Hughes that.
What say you, Gentle Reader? Would you risk your precious progeny's eternal soul on this one? When does art cross the line into obscenity?